5 ways to be an extraordinary boss

It goes beyond not sending your minions and lackeys fleeing in horror whenever you come into view. There are retention and productivity factors at play, too.

According to a study from Gallup, fully half of all employees in the U.S. have left a job because of problems with their manager.

That means that being a great boss—a likeable, even loveable, boss—isn’t just about being popular or being “nice.” Rather, it’s a retention issue.

Improving your skills as a manager should be as important a part of your job as helping your employees improve their skills. If you’re ready to become everybody’s favorite boss, try adding these skills to your repertoire:

1. Consistent and meaningful communication.

The top problem people cite with their bosses and managers is a lack of communication. If you can improve your communication skills and create a culture of open communication with your team, you will go a long way toward improving your relationship with your employees. Most important, people want clear expectations and updates when it comes to what’s expected of them.

Download this free white paper, “Auditing your Internal Communications,” for a step-by-step guide to assess which communications channels work best for your organization.

2. Give recognition and praise.

According to Entrepreneur, 65 percent of employees would be happier if they got more recognition at work, whereas only 35 percent say they would be happier if they got a raise. Build a routine of recognition and praise. You can set a goal of giving praise to at least one employee per day, make it a part of weekly staff meetings, or set a reminder to send out “thank you” emails to staff regularly. Do what works for you. Don’t worry too much about awards or rewards; words go a long way.

3. Provide feedback, mentorship and training.

The role of boss as mentor seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent years, but people still crave that kind of development role from their managers. Studies show that employees feel prouder of accomplishing harder work—but they need the right support to get there. Watch for opportunities to teach, to provide additional support, or to invite the right training for your employees. Make individual development a part of every job description.

4. Create a work culture by design.

Good bosses find ways to foster a sense of community at work. Great bosses build that culture intentionally. A big part of that is finding and attracting the right team members—and making sure that the wrong ones move on quickly. It’s also about making sure those team members are in the right roles, the ones that make the best use of their particular talents and skills.

5. Create a safe space for failure.

Some readers may cringe at that, but the best bosses make their employees feel safe to take chances and fail. Employees who trust that their failures will be met with constructive feedback and support are more likely to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to problems. If people are too busy worrying about losing their job to take chances, you’ll never get their best work out of them. It’s important to foster a sense that you succeed and fail together as a team, so that no one is thrown under the bus.

What would you say is the best way to become a beloved boss? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

Bernard Marr is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and leading business and data expert. A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.


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